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High ‘Hoops’ for 2021: Matt’s Excellent EASL adventure

Unless you’re the CEO and/or marketing head of some essential service or product, you’ve pretty much relegated the past six months and balance year 2020 as a painful memory and forgettable prospect, and can’t wait for 2021 to come along. In fact, even if you’re in one of those essential businesses, you can be grateful for survival, but the targets you set up at the beginning of the year are just so much pipe dreams down the drain.

For Philippine businesses looking to pivot and plan for 2021, one inevitable route (if not already taken), is to think in terms of expanding the market, and exporting. Countries within East Asia would be the obvious targets, as add-on’s for freight and logistical development would be minimal, and marketing opportunities are at our doorstep. And when it comes to choosing between these marketing opportunities, Matt Beyer and his East Asia Super League may be the proverbial golden ticket – as Matt and the EASL understand the market, and have created a ‘vehicle’ that transcends borders, and taps into the strong devotion and affinity for basketball, that’s common to countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, our own Philippines – and extends to Taiwan.

Matt and his Super League concept of getting the best professional teams of the region to compete over a week in one venue began in 2017 with his Super 8 held in Macau. After expanding and enjoying 2017 to 2019 success, the EASL, along with a host of other major sporting events planned for 2020, had to take a back seat to the pandemic. Back in September of 2019, as the tournament expanded to the Terrific 12, it enjoyed sold-out stadiums and a 112 million viewing audience from the broadcast rights, aired in over 100 countries.

Without a doubt, Matt knows his basketball and the kind of crazy love particular countries in Asia have for the game. For 10 years, Matt represented US basketball players in the China league (CBA), via his ALTIUS player agency. Matt is the only foreigner to receive a Chinese Sports Agent  certification, and hailing from Wisconsin, actually began his basketball career working for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. And yes, he speaks fluent Mandarin.

The new EASL 2021 format has received FIBA certification; and will run from October 2021, up to the Finals in February 2022. The region’s top leagues and teams have partnered with the EASL – the CBA of China, the B. League of Japan, the KBL of South Korea, the SBL of Chinese Taipei, and our own PBA. The top 2 teams from each country will compete in a ‘home and away’ format that should bring out the partisan crowds, and excite fans from all over the region and beyond. This ‘home and away’ is similar to the UEFA format we see in European Soccer – and its a tried and tested formula. It’s a Champions League for the region, filling the market gap between domestic leagues and those across the world.

From the experience they’ve gathered since 2017, Beyer can confidently say that the EASL fan profile is 70% aged between 18-34 years of age, and that there are 481.4 million hoop fans across the region. 59% are male, 41% female; and 56% are more likely to buy sponsor brands, and 80% are more likely to watch and engage in social media content. In 2020, with the pandemic raging, EASL ‘pivoted’ towards creating and promoting social media content to stay connected to its fan base, with two series, Ballerific and Fresh in Macau, attracting more than 26.4 million viewers and 2.9 million engagements in the first two months of launch.

The Marketing Partnership Assets of the EASL allow for multiple touch points with their fan base. There’s Branded Content on their Digital & Social Media assets, Brand Exposure & Customized Contact on Broadcast Media, and Brand Exposure via Outdoor Media. There’s Merchandise Rights that allow one to use the EASL logo, and In-Game opportunities for Brand Exposure and Branded Activity, plus Game Tickets, Hospitality and Product Display & Booths.

Matt seeks to be proactive and creative in how they can engage with their partners and sponsors, and make the relationship go that extra mile in being mutually beneficial to both parties. He’s super-excited about 2021 and how the FIBA support comes at a time when our countries in the region are all seeking ways to push forward with an agenda that aims to bring Sports excitement and involvement, plus fan support and participation, back into the spotlight.

For any savvy CEO or Marketing Head, the EASL may well be the golden ticket one was seeking to hitch your proverbial wagon to. It may be a new player on the block, but it knows what moves to make, and can assure it’s partners & sponsors of the eyeballs and affinity that they may be craving for.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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